WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Melissa Lecker considers her four dogs to be family members.
"When you spend 13 years with something living and breathing they become a part of your life," Lecker said.
But, that part of their life changed forever. When a Wausau police officer accidentally came to their front door. When the Lecker's let him inside, the officer noticed the family had four dogs. Two more than the city allows.
"We have a number of older neighborhoods where lots are very small so there does need to be a limit on animals," said Lisa Rasmussen, Chairperson for the Wausau Public Health and Safety Committee.
"We didn't want to hide anything or break any laws," Lecker adds.
That's why the family decided to go in front of the Public Health and Safety Committee, asking for help.
"We wanted a variance that would allow us to keep our four dogs until our two oldest pass away," Lecker said.
But the committee denied their request.
"Other than getting rid of two dogs, there is nothing she can do to get compliant right now," Rasmussen explained.
But, the Lecker's say giving up their dogs is not an option.
"I cant even think about going to sleep without them at night," Lecker says tearfully.
With all other options exhausted, they want out. And now, a "For Sale" sign sits in their front lawn.
"We are definitely willing to give up this house before something living and breathing," Lecker adds.
So now, the family makes plans for a move. So they can ensure they can all stay together.
Wausau officials say it will cost the Lecker's more than $300 per day if they aren't in compliance with city laws in a few weeks. That's when, officials say, they will come back to check things out.